In only 10 days, the AFC champion New England Patriots will play the NFC champion Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl. And as was already announced last week, we know who the third team on the field will be headed by: 12th-year referee John Parry will lead the officiating crew for the NFL’s final game of the year.
Football Zebras had to say the following about him:
Parry, 53, is currently in his 19th season and 12th as referee. Super Bowl LIII will be Parry’s 13th postseason assignment; among those including 2 Wild Card Playoffs, 7 Divisional Playoffs, and 1 Conference Championship. This will also be Parry’s third Super Bowl assignment — the highest total of any active NFL referee. Parry was the referee for Super Bowl XLVI following the 2011 season and was the side judge on Tony Corrente’s crew for Super Bowl XLI. Parry was the referee for the Cowboys-Rams Divisional Playoff last Sunday.
As pointed out by Football Zebras, the Patriots have a history with Parry on the game’s biggest stage: he served as the referee during New England’s 21-17 loss against the New York Giants in Super Bowl 46. Parry called an even game — the Patriots were penalized five times for 28 yards, the Giants four times for 24 — but made a controversial call on New England’s first offensive play of the day.
An incomplete pass from quarterback Tom Brady out of the end zone was ruled as intentional grounding, resulting in a safety and two points for the Giants. After the ensuing free kick, New York drove 78 yards to take a 9-0 lead.
Parry also worked one Patriots game this season, serving as the referee during the team’s 17-10 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 15. New England was flagged 15 times that day resulting in 14 accepted penalties and a combined loss of 106 yards — all season-highs for a team that averaged just 5.5 infractions in its other 17 games. Nine of the flags thrown against the Patriots were of the procedural nature, with five false starts leading the way.
The Rams also saw multiple flags thrown their way when they drew Parry this year. In week 13, when the team beat the Detroit Lions 30-16, L.A. was flagged seven times resulting in 105 lost yards. Parry also called the Rams’ divisional round game against the Dallas Cowboys, calling four penalties against the the then-home team for a combined 41 yards.
In general, the 53-year old has been a rather flag happy referee this season: his crews have averaged nearly 13 penalties called per game. However, this might not be an issue on Super Bowl Sunday: the NFL uses all-star ensembles in the postseason, and Parry is the only member of his original crew to be assigned for the Super Bowl. The entire crew for Sunday’s game looks as follows (original crew of each member in parenthesis):
R 132 John Parry
U 11 Fred Bryan (Clay Martin)
DJ 134 Ed Camp (Shawn Hochuli)
LJ 32 Jeff Bergman (Alex Kemp)
FJ 33 Steve Zimmer (Brad Allen)
SJ 103 Eugene Hall (Carl Cheffers)
BJ 111 Terrence Mills (Brad Allen)
Replay official: Jim Lapetina
Replay assistant: Chad Adams
Alternates: Referee: Ron Torbert, Umpire: Mark Pellis, Short wing: Tom Stephan, Deep wing: Michael Banks, Back judge: Rich Martinez
As pointed out by Football Zebras’ Cameron Felipe, line judge Jeff Bergman will set a new record for most years between Super Bowl assignments. Bergman last worked a title game 22 years ago, coincidentally also one that involved the Patriots: the team’s 35-21 loss in Super Bowl 31 against the Green Bay Packers.